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The Power of Observation

Detach from concepts: Less talk, less thinking. Become more perceptive, creative. A natural first process in cultivating the superconscious mind is watching thoughts. Mountain top consciousness: The first step in changing negative patterns is observation. Discipline the mind!

Unedited Transcript:

Yesterday's Merging with Siva lesson:

"The Power of Observation

"Observation is the first faculty to appear in the awakening of the superconscious regions. Observation, when perceptively performed, is cultivated by abstinence from excessive talk. Talk dissipates the energies of the aura and of the vital body of man. A mystic generally does not talk very much, for his intuition works through reason, but does not use the processes of reason. Any intuitive breakthrough will be quite reasonable, but it does not use the processes of reason. Reason takes time. Superconsciousness acts in the now. All superconscious knowing comes in a flash out of the nowhere. Intuition is more direct than reason, and far more accurate. Therefore, the mystic does not ask many questions or enter into lengthy conversations."

Similar to the idea of the forest and the trees. If we talk a lot all we can be aware of is the trees; we're caught up in all of the ideas. When we see all these separate ideas we don't really see an overview of what's going on in our mind, what's going on in our lives. To get an overview we have to detach ourselves from the concepts we're thinking about and the easiest way to do that is to not talk so much, which also means to not think so much because the two are totally related. And when we can do that, not talk or think so much. then we get the overview. And we are more perceptive of what's going on in our mind as well what's going on in the mind of others which allows us to work more smoothly with others as well a be more creative within our self.

So, as you know, one of my favorite stories about that idea is the one from Markanduswami, Yogaswami's disciple. Had the privilege of meeting him a few times back in the early 1970's. He's a great example in many ways. One of them is everything he said was the teachings of his guru. He never said anything from his own perspective. He'd always say: Yogaswami said this and Yogaswami said that and just to make sure you didn't think he had some attainment he'd say: "To me this is just theory but to Yogaswami it was experience." Something like that, just to keep it clear that, you know, he's talking about it but Yogaswami's the one who experienced it all. Very nice tradition there to keep yourself in the humble role.

So as it says here:

"His every utterance is a quote from his guru. One afternoon at his hut he described Yogaswami's approach to dealing with thoughts during meditation. He said, Yogaswami said, 'Realize Self by self. You want to read this book, that book and all these books. The Book of Infinite Knowledge is here (pointing to his chest.) You'd better open your own book.' The prescription he gave me to open that book is this: (So by prescription he means sadhana, the specific technique; these are the instructions he gave me. He calls it a prescription in English.) The prescription he gave to me to open that book is this: 'When you are in meditation, you watch the mind. Here and there the mind is hopping. One, two three... a hundred. In a few seconds the mind goes to a hundred places. Let him be. You also watch very carefully. Here and there this mind is running. Let him go anywhere, but if he goes to a hundred places, you must follow him to a hundred places. (In other words, notice every single thought you have don't just let it become a blur.) You must not miss even a single one. Follow him and note: He is going here. Now he is going there. You must not miss even a single one.' That is the prescription Satguru Yogaswami gave me to open this inner book. He said, 'Watch very attentively and learn to pick up things coming from within. Those messages are very valuable. You can't value them. Realize Self by self and open this inner book. Why don't you open your own book? Why don't you make use of it? What an easy path I am prescribing for you!'"

So the idea there is observation. Watching our thoughts. It's a natural first process in cultivating the superconscious mind, the intuition is to use it as the ability to observe. To simply sit there without thoughts is a bit challenging. But to sit there and observe every one of our thoughts, that's an easier process, a natural place to start.

Interesting to note, Gurudeva, now and then would make the comment, when he sits to meditate he doesn't have any thoughts. In other words the energy is at such an intensity within him the thought process isn't functioning. He doesn't have to quiet his thoughts, there aren't any thoughts. That would be a nice idea, right? To sit there there's no thoughts to quiet, not thoughts to watch, nothing to watch today. But that's, that's spirit, a pretty advanced state. He said: "Once in a while a thought would come by, it would be like a fish swimming by."

So in terms of observation another one of my favorite stories is the Mount Tamilpais story and so now I have the resource. I just look up Tamalpais in the Guru book and up pops my story.

So this is from the book:

"To set the example himself... (Of regularity. That's what the example is, being very regular month after month, year after year in performing your sadhana.) To set the example himself -- of regular sadhana, we'll stick that in -- in the fall Gurudeva commenced the first sunrise service on Mount Tamalpais, a 2,500-foot peak in Marin County that offers a view of the northern San Francisco Bay Area. He took a vow to hold this pilgrimage for twelve years at which time it would be well established. On the first Sunday of each month, and on other auspicious occasions, his devotees met at the temple for a pre-dawn blessing. Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in a convoy of cars, Gurudeva led the forty-five minute hike to the summit (I didn't remember it was that long) forty-five, forty minute hike to the summit for a sunrise upadesha and meditation. He continued this monthly tirthayatra, personally, rain or shine, for a dozen years, unless he was out of the country. A total of 154 pilgrimages in all."

And this is in Gurudeva's own words:

"Every Sunday we would make a pilgrimage there. We had a big rock on the mountain that we used to think of as the Siva Lingam. This was a very routine time. (Meaning routine in the sense of repetitive, doing the same thing month after month after month.) This was a very routine time. It was easy for me to be routine because of being a disciplined person from the early ballet dancing training. I ran the institution consistently. Something was happening all the time, and it kept repeating itself."

And this is my comment:

This is an exercise in what we call mountain top consciousness. Gurudeva would take his devotees to the top of the mountain for the purpose of helping them achieve a mountain top consciousness. Looking down on the cities below and the homes in them somehow helps you look more clearly at the patterns in your own life; witness more clearly what you are actually doing on a day to day basis. This is the idea of observation, it's how it all ties together. Often we can clearly see for the first time some negative patterns that we would be better off without. This is, of course, the first step toward changing those patterns.

So, it's interesting. If you haven't done that it actually works. You go on top of a mountain and you look down on homes, and somehow it puts you into this perspective. You're able to see patterns in your own life better. In other words, you can see that, you see the force. You see the patterns. Not just the day to day events one after the other after the other. You see certain patterns, repetitions of behavior both positive and negative. So, the positive ones you want to keep but the negative ones you want to change. And the first step toward changing them is observing them. So it's helpful in that process.

"Of course, you don't have to always go to the top of a mountain to clearly see the patterns in your thoughts. Once we have caught the idea, we can become quite skilled at seeing patterns and adjusting them no matter where we are. For example, if we find ourselves remembering specific events of the past on a regular basis, it shows it is an experience we have not resolved. Gurudeva suggests writing down such experiences and burning the paper and to continue doing this until we no longer think about the experience much at all. This shows it is resolved."

So Gurudeva's idea is: We don't want to think about the past and the future unnecessarily. Normally the mind kind of goes to the past and goes to the future without much control on our part. Therefore, we're thinking about it unnecessarily and at best it's kind of a distraction, at worst it upsets us. We're worried about the future, we regret the past, we're going there and we get upset in the present. So therefore, we're less creative, less productive in the present moment because our mind is wandering without purpose to the past and the future. So Gurudeva's idea is: We want learn to discipline the mind. That if we're going to the past or the future we're going there for a specific purpose. Thinking about the past for a specific purpose not just randomly thinking about the future for a specific purpose not just in the spirit of worry.

And then if we do it that way we're living more in the now and we're a more content person.

Thank you very much.

[End of transcript.]

Photo of  Gurudeva
Most people try to experience God through other people. Disciples see a guru as God. Wives see their husband as God. Devotees see the Deity in the temple as God. But all the time, behind the eyes of their seeing, is God.